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Editor of the Reformer:

Who likes clean water?

Apple Pie, Mom, the American Flag? Well, everyone. Now, for the big but Vermont's Clean Water Act 64 effort is funded by Vermont's taxpayers, but what does it buy? Apparently, 41 state employees and $3,500,000 in expenses. This 135-page legislation appoints only state officials to its board and no local officials. The legislation is further defined by over 750 pages of regulations. Grants generously refund up to 80 percent of a town's expenditures.

The grant application and instructions need 15 pages to explain before the attachments and data collection is added. No funding appears available to towns to read the new rules or apply for offsetting grants or hire people too do the work (if funds are ultimately authorized).

I talked to several small Vermont towns. In one, their 20 percent self-pay amounted to approximately $70,000. This doesn't sound too bad until you realize it's 6 percent of the town's entire budget and only covers a small fraction of the road work required. That $70,000 is almost four times the town's grants to human services such as ambulance services and food banks. This town has 68 miles of road, of which nearly all are cut into a mountainside above a protectable stream, brook or mud hole. (Oh, I mean vernal pool).

Clean water requirements for a town often means they have to put trap rock inside regraded road-side ditches. After that's done and the hated sediment is trapped in the rock, it needs to be dug out, washed and replaced nearly every year.

This is typical State legislation:

- Written by the same government workforce;

- Increases funding for the same workforce;

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- Is overseen and audited by the same workforce;

- Provides insufficient resources to the towns that actually do the work;

- Adopts a complicated one-size-fits-all goal;

- Without a reality check from the guy in the roadside ditch.

Yes, I like clean water; but ...

Wayne Vernon Estey

Petitioning Candidate Windham County State Senate

Brattleboro, March 24